Promoting Your Farm & Agriculture With Blogs

Leave a comment

Not all photos must be serious. Some 'fun' photos help relate to readers too.

Not all photos must be serious. Some ‘fun’ photos help relate to readers too.

Today’s consumer is often far removed from the farm. They moved away, have kids of their own or sometimes it’s their parents that moved away and the kids never see food grown. The disconnect is pronounced but as agvocates take to social media it’s easy for people to connect with farms. Farmers can make use of this form of social media in several ways.

Many of these are with video, while others are written. Some share photos and some include all of these as a means to show their story. From beef cattle to dairies to cotton fields to the infinite expanse of agriculture farmers are blogging to tell their story. There are a great many bloggers in the ag world seeking to connect with customers far removed from the farm.

Farmers may share terminology and general farm and food education. Favorite recipes, food polls (especially involving the food they produce!) and day to day operations are favorite fodder for ag blogs.

A blog gives a more detailed look, a bigger chance to connect with others than Twitter or Facebook. Popular and easy to use blog hosts include Blogger and WordPress. Once set up you add information daily, a few times per week or weekly.

The big thing about blogs is make it personal. Each person needs to find what works for them but be real. Don’t just say what you do – explain in layman’s terms why you do it. Some blogs are 150-200 words per post while others are typically 300-400 words.

The use of keywords can help your blog rank higher. This is a word or phrase that people might look for on Google or other search engines. Work the keyword into the title and a few times in the body of the post.

While information is important keeping your blog interesting keeps people coming back. One way to do this is follow animals from newborn to adulthood – posting treatments, what they’re eating, why you do what you do with them.

Engage your audience. Ask questions. If you’re a dairy farmer talk about milk, then ice cream and what kind is the reader’s favorite. One blog took a look back at baby bunnies, growing up and eventually the baby bunnies from a doe the readers saw grow up. Chicks are another option from day old to layers.

Look for seasonal topics. Show the equipment you use and what it’s for. The possibilities in blogging are endless! Show what the animals eat and tell how you take care of them. Think like a 5 year old – why do you do something? What is that? Basics from ear tags and tattoos to fairs and issues are all topics.

Above all else talk with your reader not at them. Draw them in, encourage them to come back with “mini-series” or other regular features. This need not take a great deal of time and can use photos from inexpensive digital cameras or even your cell phone.

Telling your ag story is easier than ever with today’s social media tools. A farm blog can teach more people than you could accommodate on your farm. Make it count…make it personal.

  • Engage your readers.
  • Make it personal.
  • Explain in easy to understand language.

Tips to Make Your Blog More Visual

Leave a comment

This was written for an agriculture audience, but is very applicable to rabbits as well.

Many in agriculture have been inspired to tell their story through groups like the AgChat Foundation. So you’ve decided you’re interested, you have a digital camera or video capability but what next?

In either case be aware of lighting. Too dark photos don’t show your topic off well. Remember that with camera settings they see the light as it is rather than adjusting as our eyes do. Sometimes photos late in the evening can look like it’s dark.

At the same time lighting can be a factor during the strong light of mid day – if you’re shooting livestock this can bring unwanted shadows. For other things, such as a combine or tractor in the field, bright light can be a good thing. If your image has a lot of white – such as Charolais cattle, sheep, white rabbits or some dairy cattle – you might get better results in the morning before 10 or so or in the afternoons after 4 – this allows you to position so the light is behind you. This also comes into play if you’re shooting winter pictures with snow that reflects light.

If you’re shooting a video beware of movement. If you’re walking to the barn and multitasking it may save you time but changing backgrounds can leave some viewers dizzy! Background is also important for still photos – with people and livestock pay attention to background so there’s no poles, trees or other objects appearing to come from the subject’s head!

Know when to come in close and when to back off. A field at harvest or planting may warrant a ‘big’ shot while one of a baby chick or an ear of corn means getting close. For close up shots use the macro setting on the digital camera – there’s a setting often depicted with a little flower, then you scroll to adjust and the lens will zoom in on tight shots like an ear of corn. Be sure to change it back so your other shots aren’t fuzzy! Also with macro shots it’s even more important to shoot steady. A blurred image can result from unsteady hands so brace yourself on a doorway, ledge or other solid surface if you have to.

For video consider an inexpensive tripod that eliminates all ‘bounce’ from your final video. As much as can be watch the noise interference in the sound and pick a video location that is quiet enough to hear what you’re saying. There may be some situations – such as dairy calves bawling at feeding time that it can be a benefit but mostly you want the viewer to be able to hear you!

Good photos show off your farm and are not difficult to get. It allows transparency without trespass. Farmers and agvocates need to be a part of the conversation about food and farming. Photos and videos are a way to do that in a very visible way.

  • agchat.org/
  • www.trufflemedia.com/home/blogs/trufflemediaadmin
  • www.causematters.com/
    • Pay attention to lighting and background.
    • Use a mix of “big” and close up shots depending on your subject.
    • Use photos in combination with other social media – blogs, Twitter, Facebook

    Did you know photos and videos allow consumers to see farming as it is, and allows for increased transparency between farm and consumer’s plates. It’s a way to share the world of agriculture with consumers.

Rabbit Photo Promotions

Leave a comment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPeople are visual creatures. We all are – and it’s worked against us for too long. Get those photos out rabbit folks!

With blogs, Pinterest, Facebook and a host of other social media platforms, there is a huge amount of publicity we can do that is *free* – and we should be doing it. Visual works!

Think it doesn’t? Quick – what do you think when you hear hog farm? Beef cattle? Dairy? For many the first images are horrific *visual* images put forth by animal rights organizations along with “go vegan” slogans. This has worked against agriculture, and left many in catch up mode trying to show their clean, well run operations that are not horror houses.

We cannot make the same mistake. Photos are something we can control. We can show our rabbits without leaving home. If you are on Facebook or Twitter, you can share photos easily but go beyond just conformation shots. Those are what we want to see as rabbit breeders, yes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut think of the rest of the world. Those who don’t raise rabbits. Think of the opportunities we have at least once a month to bring a smile to those who aren’t involved with rabbits. Break outside the box.

Take your clean rabbits and get some good photos. Get some casual photos – babies playing on their mother, or set up some unposed photos with props.

Now take those photos and go get familiar with Picmonkey.com – it’s free. You can use another photo editing program, but Picmonkey gives you a lot of options. Always put your name in the corner. Use your rabbitry name, or personal name if you prefer – but have it in a consistent place if possible. This insures that it isn’t taken to be used in places we don’t want it used, like certain organizations we probably wouldn’t want to be associated with.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou can alter the exposure if the photo is a little too light or dark. You can crop it, rotate and even fix redeye issues under the touch up section (looks like a little lipstick). (Tip – for white rabbits and literal red eye use the people setting – for dark eyes that come out green use the “furball” setting.)

When you shoot some photos leave spaces – in the text setting you can add things for birthdays, holidays and other occasions. Some examples are on this page.

You can even go to the symbols and get creative – I put a clover “tattoo” in an ear for St. Patrick’s day. Of course it’s not on the real rabbit. Most people will realize that just like they realize their morning cereal doesn’t really talk to them. 🙂 If you look close above the Easter and St. Patrick’s day pictures is the same picture – with different ‘dressing.’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGet creative. Post birthday greetings with rabbits in them to people on your wall and promote rabbits at every birthday. Make up some for holidays – look at the online listings of national <whatever> day or month and make some that are funny and play into that.

Make some serious, some funny, some just because (hey it’s Friday! or “it’s Monday already”).  Some examples – think up how you can use the same principles. Visual works! They get clicked on, shared, passed along to friends. And guess what…when it’s shared the friends friends all see rabbits. That’s free promotion and smiles we can’t reach on our own.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

4 books to help your blog

Leave a comment

Many people like what a blog can do in the terms of traffic but not so much in the maintenance. It can be an effort to keep it interesting and fresh. Here are four books worth investing in to help your blog.

No One Cares What You Had For Lunch – 100 Ideas for Your Blog by Margaret Mason – This isn’t a big involved book, but brings forth a host of great ideas that every person reading can use in a unique way. If you use each idea just three times in a year there’s nearly a year of blogs!

Content Rules – How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and more) that Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. Long title, lots of information! Mix it up – video in a blog, asking questions and so much more. Lots of ideas here that with a little creativity could be great for farm and rabbit blogs!

Likeable Social Media goes a bit beyond blogging alone but worthwhile to getting people to listen. If we get more listening there is more support when it comes to zoning battles and other issues.

Will Write For Food – The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir and more. Some great tips to connecting “outside the choir”. People love to talk food – and what does farming of all types do but produce food. Especially for those with meat rabbits – talk meat dinners! Cooking tips, meal ideas, what works, what doesn’t…you’ll be surprised how many love to eat rabbit and are looking for information! Connect with a great meal and it creates demand for rabbit not only in your area but everywhere.

The investment here is less than a few bags of feed. The investment can mean an increased demand and decreased speed bumps for all who raise rabbits. That’s worth a look!

How Do I Series – Using Categories

Leave a comment

Categories on WordPress blogs help people find your posts. Most people don’t blog about just one thing. We have lives! Work! Play! Interests! Categories are on the right side of the box when you type in your blog.

For example – for the PromoteTheRabbit blog so far we have categories of blogs, Facebook, media, social media, Twitter, video and ‘uncategorized’ (all other). Under that there is a link to “Add New Category.” Let’s say we want to add one on photography – which bloggers might find of use. When we click that, fill it in and save it then it creates and puts the link (this post) into that category.

This makes it easy for the reader because perhaps they don’t use Twitter. Perhaps their focus is blogs or the How Do I series…we can group these and make it easy to find and use them.

These vary slightly from tags because it helps people find it on this blog. With tags it draws people from ‘outside’ to the keywords used, which can vary depending on the post. Being consistent with using these tools effectively can help build your blog as it helps people find you. Don’t hesitate either to check out WordPress features like postaweek2011 and postaday2011 – tags that can draw new people in and help you find a variety of new blogs to read.

How Do I Monday Series – Upload Pictures

Leave a comment

Sometimes computers are like playing “Simon Says”….and if you forget the “Simon Says” everything poofs! It’s frustrating as with it can be information. With WordPress, sometimes drafts are saved, but other times it’s gone.

Blogging looks better from a reader’s standpoint with pictures. Watch the things that you read online…do pictures matter? It clarifies points and “dresses up” a post. But sometimes getting pictures uploaded can be frustrating!

So let’s work on this! Step by step – click on the tool bar above where it says “upload/insert” the first symbol is for pictures. When we click on that it brings

up a window.

Here you need to find the image. There’s three “file tabs” – your computer, another site (such as flicker or other photo sites) and media files – as you add photos these previously posted images will be in your media files.

Let’s say the image is on your computer – browse for the image. When you select your image it puts it there – you can rotate and crop the image but if you do be sure to click “SAVE”. Then scroll down, select the size and fill in any tags, labels and captions. Then down towards the bottom click “insert”. This should place your photo into your post.

For the photos hosting other places, cut and paste the link to the photo in the section for that. From the ‘media’ section you can reselect previously used ones and click “insert” – remember the clicking “insert” is what puts it in your post.

Putting videos into your post is essentially the same thing – you can cut/paste the YouTube link address and insert one right into your post. An example is like:

If you follow down that same line you can add polls, media and other things using very much the same steps. Always remember to save. Click publish and you have a post!

How Do I Monday Series – Embedding links

Leave a comment

Getting started is difficult but for those who are new to blogging or social media it’s that overwhelm that puts many off. Simple things are overwhelming – until you learn!

The first post will be about embedding links – allowing you to post about a cool farm at http://bellbottomfarm.wordpress.com/ or, easier for the reader, to say check out this farm. It highlights it to indicate there is a link. How to do that?In WordPress blogs it’s pretty easy.

1. Highlight the word or phrase. Double click over a single word.

2. Once you highlight something in the little icons above the text box there’s a little chain symbol. Click that – it will bring  up a box.

3. Cut and paste the link address in that little box, and indicate whether you want it to open on a new page (I usually do).

4. Save it by clicking ‘add link’.

It’s magic! If you have questions for this series please ask!! We all were new once!

%d bloggers like this: